New furniture and homewares retailer Nido is optimistic about opening the doors to customers, despite launching during the COVID-19 downturn.
The new $60 million, 27,000sqm store in west Auckland opened on Saturday and carries more than 10,000 product lines.
The company expects to create 180 new jobs for retail workers in the coming year.
The locally owned and operated store will open after nine years of preparation and will house 80 exclusive brands and feature more than 100 display rooms.
General manager Julian Bottaro is confident the shop will pull in the customers despite the current economic environment.
"Even though it's tough times for everyone and with all business gone through a hardship during the lockdown, we're quite optimistic about the range and value of product that we bring."
Managing director Vinod Kumar said hundreds of containers of product arrived in the months prior to COVID-19 which meant there was no interruption to supply lines and there were full shelves when they opened.
"We have sourced products from NZ, Europe and the US and will be the largest retail operation in the country and, for those outside of Auckland, we will eventually offer online shopping functionality through our website and provide nationwide distribution for our products," he said.
Kumar said the first stage of recruitment has been completed with a further 90 roles to be advertised later in the year.
Managing director of First Retail Group Chris Wilkinson said the opening of the store will bring a boost to retail confidence and help to reinvigorate the category among Kiwi consumers.
"People have been focused on their home environment for the past eight weeks, and we know that during the lockdown the businesses in these categories have done very well selling their essential items. These types of stores will be the first destinations Kiwis head to once we come out of lockdown as many of them will have identified projects they want to get started," he said.
Along with home makeovers, Wilkinson said businesses will also be looking to offerings like Nido as people transitioned to a new way of working post-COVID-19.
"We are going to see a significant change in people's workplaces and more of us will be working from home, so business owners are also going to need to reconsider commercial environments and office solutions, so we expect to see growth here too," he said.
Customers expected from other regions
Wilkinson says increasingly Kiwis are looking for shopping solutions that are brought together under one roof and expects customers to travel from the Waikato and Bay of Plenty to purchase from the store.
"I think it's inspirational for the New Zealand market. The products have been carefully curated to focus on what NZ consumers like and want, they have a universal appeal but underpinning that is an answer to a Kiwi demand for products which have convenience and value," he says.
Kumar, who has been twice voted New Zealand Retailer of the Year, says the new store will cater to a wide range of budgets and tastes and Kiwis will be able to access the latest products, technology and global design trends all under one roof.
"The scale of our store is hard to comprehend until you are in it, but to give some indication, we are able to accommodate a full-size three-bedroom showhome inside which has been home staged by our team of interior designers," he says.
The company's commercial division Nido@work will also carry thousands of European and locally sourced commercial furniture products targeting business from SMEs through to large-scale corporates and government departments.
Once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, a second level of the store will open along with the cafe.
More product lines, including large furniture and room settings, will also be made available in the coming weeks as lockdown restrictions are lifted and parking spaces for more than 600 vehicles are made available.